An official U.S. delegation sent to Ukraine’s presidential inauguration last weekend included a Ukrainian-American who has accused Jews of manipulating the Holocaust for their gain and playing an “inordinate role” in the rise of Soviet communism.

Myron Kuropas, an adjunct professor at Northern Illinois University, wrote in 2000: “Big money drives the Holocaust industry. To survive, the Holocaust industry is always searching for its next mark. Ukraine’s turn is just around the corner.”

In a 1996 essay, he addressed Soviet-era atrocities in Ukraine and wrote: “The inordinate role played by Jews in bringing Bolshevism to power is certainly a topic worthy of further exploration.”

Kuropas was part of the delegation led by Secretary of State Colin Powell at Sunday’s inauguration of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

A White House official, who refused to be identified by name, said Tuesday: “We were not aware of his previous statements. Had we been aware of such comments beforehand, we would not have invited Dr. Kuropas to be a member of the delegation.” ~The Chicago Tribune

It is pathetic that the government would have wanted to drop Prof. Kuropas from the delegation to the Ukraine, and all on account of comments that are statements of fact. He has distinguished himself as being one of the leading voices calling attention to the genocide carried out against the Ukrainians by the Soviet government and has made a point of trying to have Walter Duranty’s fraudulent Pulitzer rescinded. Duranty, as we will all recall, was The New York Times reporter who maliciously and dishonestly covered up the Ukrainian famines and genocide out of blatant pro-Soviet bias. What the White House and State Department should regret is their obnoxious interference in another country’s election to support the victory of a criminal, rather than their inclusion of a respectable member of the Ukrainian-American community.

There is a “Holocaust industry,” as detailed in an important book by the historian Norman Finkelstein. As the book description relates: “Drawing on a wealth of untapped sources, he [Finkelstein] exposes the double shakedown of European countries as well as legitimate Jewish claimants, and concludes that the Holocaust industry has become an outright extortion racket.” To observe this is not to make an anti-Jewish statement (unless we wish to accuse Dr. Finkelstein of anti-Semitism as well), but to be critically aware that contemporaries are profiting through the exploitation of the suffering of others, purportedly in the name of “remembering.”

There was an “inordinate role” played by communists of Jewish descent, whose heritage was more than incidental to their attraction to a leftist revolutionary movement. To say that is not to tar all Jewish people with the label of communist or Bolshevik, which would obviously be absurd, nor would a balanced mind draw the conclusion from this that it in any way legitimises anti-Semitic violence or politics.

Naturally, unable to and uninterested in understanding this, the government would have preferred to drop Prof. Kuropas, had they known, from a delegation to visit a Ukrainian president, whose voters are far more guilty of the worst kinds of anti-Jewish sentiments and ideas, and who received official and unofficial support from Washington throughout the election debacle. It would have been better had Washington ‘dropped’ Mr. Yushchenko from their list of lackeys and spared Prof. Kuropas these insults.

Prof. Kuropas’ remarks about the “inordinate role” Jewish people had in bringing the Bolsheviks to power reflect a willingness on his part to study those aspects of the Russian Revolution that are perfectly legitimate fields of inquiry (no one bats an eye when inquiring into the erstwhile Lutheran or Christian roots of modern anti-Semitism, nor are they scandalised to repeat calumnies against Christian contemporaries’ being ‘collaborators’ or ‘sympathisers’ of the Nazis as if they were history). For the Tribune to run a headline calling Prof. Kuropas a “critic of Jews” is sloppy journalism, at best, and a deliberate blackening of his name at worst.

Update: The January 27 Tribune edition did carry a slightly more fair article on Prof. Kuropas and the criticism he has received, except that the debate remains framed in Prof. Kuropas’ having to refute tired and lazy allegations of anti-Semitism.